"You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the LORD is your security." Proverbs 3:24-26a (NLT)
As a little girl I loved being outdoors. I could often be found playing kickball with the neighborhood kids or riding my bike around the block. I liked to splash in puddles and jump in piles of leaves. There was one aspect, however, about being outside that I didn't particularly care for: the critters.
Spiders were scary ... dogs terrifying. And I couldn't even bear the thought of snakes. My intense fear of these creatures often kept me from fully engaging in play.
Unfortunately, even when I didn't encounter creepy-crawlies outdoors, they occasionally wound up in my dreams at night. I would have the same reoccurring nightmare of snakes slithering toward me while I stood frozen, unable to run away. When I would wake up, I would be in a panic, heart wildly beating, palms sweating. I never thought my fears would go away until the one summer when I had no other choice.
The summer I turned 20, I took a job at a nature center teaching four-year-olds. It didn't cross my mind that keeping company with critters would be a part of my duties.
I had to capture insects to examine and release, scoop tadpoles to study pond life, and even hold the snakes that were kept in glass tanks in the main building.
Although everything in me wanted to run away, there were little eyes on me. So, I whispered a prayer for strength, pushed past my fears, and made those kids think I was a critter-lovin' instructor whose calm demeanor (and lack of screaming!) showed them there was nothing to fear. If their teacher wasn't freaking out, why should they?
Even though I worked through my fear that summer, as an adult now, I'm still tempted to "freak out" with fear. My imagination concocts all sorts of scenarios peppered with dread and doom. Sometimes I can't shake fear as I try to fall asleep.
But I have come to trust this perspective-shifting truth: God is not worried. He's not in heaven wringing His hands, wondering just how everything will eventually turn out. He is in control. He is loving.
God longs to use the circumstances of our lives to mold our mind, craft our character, and chase away the fears that threaten to slither in, paralyzing us and rendering us ineffective. Ever the patient and wise teacher, if He isn't freaking out, why should we?
Proverbs 3:24-26a is a sweet promise to us, "You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the LORD is your security" (NLT).
Now that passage doesn't promise that we won't ever encounter sudden disasters in life. But it does reassure us that we have no need to fear them. Why? Because the Lord—our gracious and wise teacher—is our security. He will be there to comfort and to guide as He teaches us the lessons we need to learn.
With God as our security, we can have calm in our present. With God as our security, we can face the future without fear. And we can share this confidence we gain to inspire others, helping to keep them from unnecessary fret and worry.
Why it even helps me deal with little critters that get inside my house without squirming. Well . . . without squirming too much.
Dear Lord, help me place my fears in Your hands, knowing You alone are my security, both now and in the future. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What is your greatest reoccurring fear?
Turn it into a prayer by asking God to be your security in the midst of uncertainty.
Psalm 112:7, "They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD." (NIV)
© 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105